Chilean Hake

(Merluccius gayi gayi)

South Pacific hake, Merluza comĂșn (Spanish)

1. What is it?

Chilean hake (Merluccius gayi gayi) are migratory, bottom-dwelling species with moderate resilience to high fishing pressures. The stock is considered to be severely over-exploited following a stock crash in 2004 and is still at risk of collapsing with little chance of recovery in the next few years. In 2014, the total allowable catch was set well below the scientific recommendation (almost 50% less than previous years) in order to aid the recovery.

2. How was it caught or farmed?

Chilean hake is caught using demersal otter trawls which consist of nets that are dragged along the sea bed at different depths. This type of trawling is known to damage the seabed; although the extent and impact of damage remains unknown. Trawling is not a very selective fishing method and a number of juvenile Chilean hake and other species are often caught in the nets (fish, sharks and rays). There is insufficient information available regarding the impact on birds and other endangered, threatened or protected species (ETP).

3. Where is it from?

Chilean hake are found along the west coast of South America (FAO 87) and imported into South Africa. Management in this fishery is considered to be partly effective due to the significant improvements in terms of improved monitoring and data collection. In addition, the stock assessment is more accurate and updated on a regular basis. The Chilean government has also proposed a recovery plan for the hake stock that includes area and gear restrictions some of which are already in place .